• The Easter Wine Guide

    Mar 22, 2010 05:07 ET The Easter Wine Guide

    KENWOOD, Calif., March 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Like Thanksgiving and Christmas, Easter is a special day for families and friends to come together to share a celebratory meal. Good company and good food deserve to be enjoyed with fine wine, and - with a bit of forethought - choosing a wine that pairs well with your Easter meal can be a snap.

    The first thing to consider in choosing a wine - or wines - for Easter is the kind of Easter meal it will be. Unlike Thanksgiving or Christmas, when dinner - though sometimes enjoyed early - is the norm, the Easter meal can be brunch, lunch or dinner, each with its own mix of courses.

    As with all wine pairings, the goal at Easter is to select a wine that has similar flavor intensity as the dishes it will accompany (so the wine doesn't overwhelm the food, or vice versa) and also has a character that complements those dishes. The two traditional main courses for an Easter lunch or dinner - lamb and glazed ham - illustrate perfectly how a good wine match is made.

    Rich and robust in flavor, Easter lamb - whether rack of lamb, leg of lamb or lamb roast - may overwhelm all white wines and a fair number of reds. To complement its bold flavor, it needs to be paired with a full-bodied, deeply fruited red wine with ample structure, like a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Syrah. Some fine choices would be Kenwood Vineyards Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon, Kenwood Vineyards Sonoma County Merlot, Valley of the Moon Winery Sonoma County Syrah and Lake Sonoma Winery Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

    In contrast, traditional Easter glazed ham combines the medium flavor of the ham itself, saltiness from its preparation, and sweetness from the glaze. With glazed ham, the situation is the opposite of lamb; a full-bodied red wine would overwhelm it. Glazed ham pairs best with a wine that displays light-to-medium body, fresh, fruity flavors, and good balancing acidity, such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling or unoaked Chardonnay. Some to consider include Kenwood Vineyards Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc, Kenwood Vineyards Sonoma County Pinot Gris and Valley of the Moon Winery Unoaked Chardonnay. Glazed ham also pairs beautifully with dry roses like Kenwood Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir Rose and Valley of the Moon Winery Rosato di Sangiovese. For those who must have a red wine with their glazed ham, a Zinfandel - like those from Valley of the Moon Winery and Lake Sonoma Winery - would be a good choice.

    All of these wines also should work well with traditional Easter side dishes like scalloped potatoes, green bean casserole and asparagus. However, there is no rule that says you can't serve two wines with your Easter meal and your guests will enjoy having a choice.

    Easter brunch typically features different fare than an Easter lunch or dinner, with an emphasis on dishes like quiche, French toast, frittata, hash browns, scrambled eggs, waffles, muffins, light salads and fresh fruit. Rather than attempt to select a wine to complement this range of dishes, take the easy way out and serve champagne. A premium California champagne like Korbel Brut or Korbel Blanc de Noirs is surprisingly versatile and is sure to be a hit.

    Happy Easter!

    Drink responsibly.

    Source: Kenwood Vineyards

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